Obaseki Firefighting Truks: There is a new fire in Edo state, an invisible one that attacks the lungs and the immune system, and threatens to overwhelm the public health system as it did in other states and countries of the globe.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to rise in the state, even as health workers, the firefighters in this case, are complaining of no equipment or machines to combat the fire without it consuming them.
The Obaseki-administration, through SSG Osarodion Ogie, has come out to dispute their claims, painting a rosy picture of spending over a billion naira – and accusing the protesting health workers of being dishonest and perhaps, unpatriotic. But no one believes its story, and for a good reason.
Before the metaphorical fire of COVID-19 lit up the place, the literal one had already besieged markets, reducing expensive goods and life savings of residents of the states in different markets to ashes. Fire gut markets and malls in Benin, and from then touched other parts of the city. Disputes remain on the actual causes on the fire but there is a consensus on the factor that fueled its unchecked spread: government irresponsibility and lack of firefighting trucks.
In August 2019, after yet another devastating fire consumed the Uwelu Spare parts market, a member of Obaseki’s cabinet, Commissioner Damian Lawani admitted that the state, three years into the tenure of Godwin Obaseki, remains handicapped by ‘faulty fire trucks and outdated firefighting equipment.”
To date, no effort has been made to ‘update’ the equipment or purchase new fire trucks. But the governor had all the time, energy and funds to pursue the removal of the National Chairman of his party, the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole over a personal slight.
When a fire gutted another market in Edo state recently, before the onslaught of COVID-19, Obaseki did what he is doing now: he denied responsibility and blamed others. We were told in December, that the state government had ordered for brand new fire fighting trucks from a local manufacturing plant in the South Eastern part of the country however, in April, Obaseki is yet to take delivery of the equipments.
In a striking display of irresponsibility, the governor, without basis or a shred of evidence, accused his ‘political enemies’ of turning overnight arsonists who put fire in markets to give him a bad face.
Similarly, and most embarrassingly, he is also blaming the NMA for his failure to provide the basics in the fight against COVID-19.
Godwin Obaseki is never out of excuses but unfortunately, his excuses cannot put out a fire – literal or metaphorical. There were no firefighting trucks then, there is none now. And in both cases, Obaseki claimed to have spent billions. Edo state is on fire and all its governor does is spend money. No one knows where the money goes
Pedro Obaseki (Jr)
Obaseki Firefighting Truks